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Cable Technology Feature Article

January 12, 2010

CableLabs Expands Support for Development of 3D TV Technology

By Nathesh, TMCnet Contributor

CableLabs, a non-profit research and development consortium, is reportedly developing 3D video test support and is opening up its research laboratories to take 3D television technology further.

In a release, CableLabs (News - Alert) states that it is providing testing capabilities for 3D TV implementation scenarios over cable. These capabilities cover a full range of technologies including various frame compatible, spatial multiplexing solutions for transmission.

CableLabs has opened up its laboratory facilities for vendors and TV equipment manufacturers to realize interoperability with 3D cable delivery systems. The firm has also designed new 3D TV delivery system that works with the new generation of 3D-ready TV's – which use either polarized or active-shutter glasses unlike past 3D TV delivery that had to use colored glasses – to enable an in-home 3D viewing experience.

Today’s new generation of 3D TV receivers is expected to support new 3D TV formats using an HDMI video connection. CableLabs is claimed to have played an influential role in the recently announced changes to the HDMI 3D specifications to add support for the “Top/Bottom” format and enable legacy STBs to signal 3D carriage.

CableLabs has added that for now 3D TV delivery will over ‘frame-compatible’ 3D formats which can be processed by many of today’s digital STBs and these signals can be transmitted through existing plant and equipment as if they were 2D HDTV signal. A ‘frame-compatible’ 3D format is one that carries separate left and right video signals within the video frame used to convey a conventional (2D) high-definition signal by squeezing them to fit within the space of one picture.

The company is also working on a long-term solution for the future that will enable support for 3D content that can be delivered at resolutions and frame rates as high as 1080p60 for both eyes.

In the release, officials with CableLabs claim that they are developing a flexible system that enables delivery of 3D TV signals with little to no change in cable’s existing video on demand and switched digital video infrastructure to existing set-top boxes. This system will deliver a high-definition 3D image to today’s new generation of 3D TVs regardless of their native display technology.

The company added that its VOD and SDV systems can deliver the 3DTV signals to existing subscribers who have upgraded to new 3DTVs, while simultaneously delivering a 2D variation of the program. The systems will require only a small fractional increase in bandwidth.

CableLabs recently announced DOCSIS 3.0 certification and inked a tru2way host device license agreement.

Nathesh is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Nathesh's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard